Ok So I’m running a little behind with the blog posts so I’ll try and be a little more concise recapping the WSC play-off. The qualifiers were in first, Thomas Snyder, then Jan Mrozowski, Tiit Vunk, Florian Kirch, Jan Novotny, Nikola Zivanovic, Michael Ley, Hideaki Jo and finally Jakub Ondrousek.
The play-off format was really good: 9 puzzles to solve, with competitors moving forward as they completed puzzles (which also included a 1 minute checking time). After three puzzles 10 desks became 7, after six 7 desks became 5 and from there a race to the line. Competitors were also given time advantages based on their total scores from the rounds. This translated into Thomas starting 3 minutes before Jan, and so on until Jakub started with a 10 minute penalty.
In the event Thomas started out front and stayed out front, right to the end. I believe the affectionate nickname “The Machine” has been used on this blog in the past, and that’s exactly what this performance was. Cool, calm and clinical – although I dare say the chairs were feeling a bit of punishment as he moved between desks. In contrast for example, Kota languidly strolled between desks, and was (very briefly) level with Thomas. It was as close as anyone got.
The main shock came with the elimination of Jan M after the first cut (maybe this was part of Thomas’ 2 year plan too?) – although perhaps almost as surprising was the fact that Hideaki, together with nearly a 9 minute penalty, did manage to make it. Perhaps it wasn’t surprising to see Jakub go out either, especially given his body language before finally being allowed to start – slumped out across his desk.
The first cut also claimed Michael Ley, who promptly called over an organiser and ordered a beer. Fair play.
The second cut saw a few see-saws between people who weren’t Thomas, but eventually claimed Jan N and Nikola.
Hideaki’s remarkable run continued, but in the end it was Kota who managed to hang on to 2nd, with Tiit claiming 3rd. Hideaki claimed 4th and Florian finished the list in 5th. Congratulations to all!
The WPC has started today and I have actually solved some puzzles. I have no idea what I should reasonably expect to acheive, but David has said top 50 would be good. I certainly want to be top 100, and preferably at least top 4 on the British team. As the afternoon rounds are about to begin, I should probably leave the shenanigans of the WSC aftermath and the rest day until next time…